This drawing is part of a series I’ve been working on, all very different in subject matter. Others are named: The Medusa’s Dance, In Awe of the Singer, The Other Side of the Looking Glass and Theatre in the Clouds.
The complete process of this drawing took a considerable amount of time. It is done with charcoal on a 22 inch x 30 inch sheet of Arches Cold Press watercolor paper. Cold Press watercolor sheets have a slight texture. Hot Press is very smooth and then there is Rough which has much more texture than the Cold Press.
I would say that the Centaur took the longest time to complete, probably six months. The Centaur gave me goose bumps many times while working on it. I hid hid it in a closet for a while because it was disturbing to me as I worked on it. Six months later, I was able to finish it.
I am going to be secretive here and not say exactly how this drawing was done or how the charcoal was applied because I have seen very few of these types of work. I will just say that I let my imagination run away and started seeing things in the charcoal. Once I start seeing an image, I begin drawing lightly around it or filling in negative space with a charcoal pencil. I don’t define the image completely at first. I have to see what else I imagine in the scene. Each time I go back into the drawing, I get a bit darker. I also will lift out charcoal that is too dark. By that I don’t mean erase. There is a special eraser called a Kneaded eraser that you can squeeze or roll, kind of like ‘Silly Putty’ back about 40 yrs ago. All you need to do is press into the charcoal and lift off.
Below is me standing next to The Other Side of the Looking Glass which was in an exhibition at Grady Gammage, Arizona State University, during the showing of The Phantom of the Opera. I was younger then.